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Re-imagining Education by Re-investing on Educators to Include User Experience and User Interface Design

Let's re-imagine education by first revamping and elevating the support, training, and development programs of our MVPs: our teachers.

Photo of Carolina Kim de Salamanca
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Written by

I am a.....

  • Teacher
  • Parent/Caregiver
  • Educational Technologist

Tell us about your idea

As I work with many educators to go online with their classes, one major aspect they struggle with is converting a physical (learning) process to a digital (learning) experience. They want to move parallel from face-to-face to online and recreate everything they do in person in the online environment. The reality, however, is that every teaching modality has its own unique characteristics and teaching should be done with all of these dimensions, strengths and limitations in mind.

What we have seen is not that these educators lack the growth mindset to implement a "user experience design" element to their online/remote teaching and in their students' learning, but that most have not received the appropriate training or education on learning experience methodologies and strategies that can benefit their teaching continuity at a distance -- whether it be due to a pandemic, a snowstorm, or just a sick day. 

What could a revamped teacher training curriculum, professional development, and financial and time investment look like post-covid? Without jumping right into a technology solution, what are the skills and support that our educators need now to be flexible, nimble and able to teach in various modalities? 

I believe the answer lies in the realm of user experience design, user interface design, and design thinking. Therefore, let's reinvent education by revamping, reinvesting and elevating the support, training, and development of our teachers to include these processes. 

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

If the world has not known this pre-Covid, they know it now: teachers are our most valuable players. In the "game of life," they inspire, they coach, they help, they persevere, they motivate, they make us better and, most important of all, they teach us. I wish to leave this notion that "those who can't do, teach" in the past and instead hold our teachers high in their status in society and in school systems. In particular, I wish to see school systems around the world (in the US specifically) value their teachers by equipping them, financially investing in them, and trusting these educators to make educated decisions on which technologies to implement and how best to teach their students. We need more educators making these big decisions.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

I was first and foremost inspired to become a music educator by my high school guitar teacher who, despite being quadriplegic, was an incredible teacher to many students for over thirty years. Today, I teach undergraduate music courses that give a more holistic view of music, embed technology and encourage my students’ growth in digital literacy. I am also the Lead Educational Technologist at SUNY Empire State College and work primarily with the faculty in the application of technology in student-centered pedagogy, student engagement, and success.

I approach teaching with technology very much like a musical instrument: a creative discipline that takes intention and patience to serve a greater purpose. That is why this idea of revamping, reinvesting and elevating a teacher's development is so important to me. Much like a musician, the more educators can develop their skills in teaching with technology, the more comfortable they become making decisions, and pushing the boundaries. I whole heartedly believe teachers are our most valuable and irreplaceable resources in education and deserve the most excellent support.

I currently live in New York City with my newborn son and my wonderful husband and collaborator. I hold a Master’s Degree in Music and Music Education at Teachers College, Columbia University where I was also their Tech Fellow. 

 

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

I live on the greatest city on earth, New York City. During the outbreak, our city has been so unrecognizable and yet very comforting.

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